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Dowson and Sheppard Collection of Cadastral Diagrams and Maps

Reference Code: GBR/3296/Maps/Maps.Dowson

Scope and Contents

The maps are published by various organisations and at various scales. This online list has largely been transcribed from a photocopy of a handwritten list (classmark Maps.Dowson.1) compiled by the Department of Geography (University of Cambridge) where the maps were stored before most were transferred to Cambridge University Library on 24 November 1995. Additional maps were transferred in 2004. There are some maps on the handwritten list (see, e.g., the last page of the volume, plus various places in the list itself) that do not seem to have been transferred to the University Library but which also no longer seem to be in the Department of Geography. In addition, it is noted in the handwritten list that maps of Egypt and Sudan went to 'The Oriental Studies Library' but an enquiry made in March 2018 revealed that these maps had been "transferred to the Haddon Library ca. 6 years" and as of 16 March 2018 the current whereabouts of these maps is unconfirmed. Some of these missing maps are listed online but some are not. Most of the maps in the original collection have a green adhesive spot on them. In most cases in the compilation of this online list, the original maps were not consulted. It seems that the collection (including books) had been transferred to the Department of Land Economy, Cambridge University (from locations detailed in the references mentioned above) in 1968-69. The Squire Law Library, University of Cambridge, has a collection called the Dowson Sheppard collection which comprises two bookcases of books to do with land registration and borders (information from late 2017).


  • Creation: 1809 - 1993

Conditions Governing Access

This item or collection is available for consultation by researchers in the Map Room at Cambridge University Library. Contact details and Map Room opening hours can be found at Anyone wishing to use the collection must first acquire a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket, see

Biographical / Historical

The collection was formed by Sir Ernest Dowson and Mr V. L. O. Sheppard 'at the instance of the Second Conference of Commonwealth Surveyors in 1931' -- page 1 of "The Dowson and Sheppard collection of cadastral survey and land registration records : a note on the origin, history, and current whereabouts of the collection" by Richard T. Porter (Ordnance Survey, 1993). For additional history of the collection see "Survey Review", 33, 257 (July 1995) pages 209-210, and an update published in the January 1997 issue. Approx. 119 maps were added to Maps.Dowson in January 2018 after being discovered in a box of maps transferred to Cambridge University Library from the MoD following correspondence/discussion between Ian Mumford of MoD and the Department of Land Economy and Roger Fairclough (Head of Map Department) in 1992 and 1993. Box labelled (in Ian Mumford's hand) "Mumford / Fairclough discussion 5/93". See also Maps.Dowson.2 for MoD correspondence on acquisition of these maps.


1 collection : Paper

Language of Materials


2017-12-21 09:22:29+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom